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Cambridge gears up for UK’s first zero-carbon battery collection

by Carolyn Cross | Jun 03, 2019
Businesses in Cambridge are trialling the UK’s first zero-emission, bike-driven waste battery service.

 

The city centre collection scheme is free of charge, and uses Zedify cycle couriers to collect batteries for recycling through Valpak’s battery service. As well as the obvious environmental benefits of using bikes instead of cars or vans, the partnership also brings efficiencies in logistics optimisation. If successful, the companies aim to offer the service to other cities in the UK.

The service will help to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions. While collection vehicles would usually tot up 298g of CO2 for every mile, the bikes emit zero CO2, no matter how many journeys they undertake. In a city as vibrant and bustling as Cambridge, couriers also often get held up in traffic. This causes delays and increases pollution in proportion to the distance travelled – especially with vehicle engines running while waiting in traffic queues. For Zedify, with its agile bikes which are able to access areas a car cannot, traffic is rarely a problem.

Zedify couriers already operate throughout the city centre, passing Valpak’s battery clients – such as retail outlets and offices – with high frequency. They are able to collect waste batteries en route, rather than making one-way trips. The aim is to include battery removal as an additional service for existing delivery customers. This may be expanded to include other small format wastes.

James Nash at Valpak, which is based in Stratford, said: “In the UK, around 40,000 tonnes of portable batteries were sold in 2018, with around 22,000 tonnes not being recycled when they reached the end of their life. Recycling this hazardous waste responsibly is the right thing to do for the environment, and also helps us to meet the UK’s national targets on battery recycling, but we are always looking for ways to achieve our goals with less impact on the environment.

“Working with Zedify has been a great experience. They are such a forward-thinking company, with values like Valpak’s own. I look forward to working with them in future, and hopefully developing this type of collection across the other cities in which they operate.

Valpak’s battery collection service is free to all businesses and organisations within the UK. Valpak organises for battery boxes to be delivered to the site for the collection of household portable batteries, such as AA, AAA. Once the box is filled, the batteries are collected and the box left with the customer for future use.